How to Rein in Your Content Marketing Budget
January 18th, 2016 by
Scope creep. A concept that strikes fear in the heart of every project manager. Content can be a slippery slope when you’re racing against the competition to build your brand, show your expertise, and earn the trust of your customers, you may find yourself sacrificing quality to post new content more often. Your challenge is to produce enough quality content to keep your brand in the public eye. Without a clear strategy, it can get out of hand. Here’s how you can stay on budget and still deliver the goods.
Brainstorming and Buy-Ins
You want your blog to be informative and have an insider feel, and the best people to produce that kind of content are your employees. Asking your employees to blog benefits them by making them feel more valued and valuable. But, let’s be honest, not every employee is a writer. That’s where brainstorming comes in. Schedule a meeting every two weeks to brainstorm blog content. Invite stakeholders from each department, especially those on the front lines: customer service and sales.
You’ll also want to hear from the back end – whoever is monitoring your analytics. If you’re using a CRM with comprehensive reporting features, you have a wealth of data at your disposal. You’ll be able to spot trends, find out what customers are discussing on social media, and develop a comprehensive customer persona.
Using input from all departments, develop topics based on questions customers ask and problems they encounter. Your blog calendar should include a nice mix of informational topics, interaction, and personality. Employees who don’t have blogging skills (or the time) can contribute ideas and knowledge by way of bullet points to be sent to a writer.
Be sure to appoint an editor who can fact and quality check everything posted, make sure enough content is submitted, and ensure that sensitive company information doesn’t accidentally go public. An experienced editor will help protect your online reputation.
Stretch Your Most Valuable Assets
Buzzsumo analyzed thousands of posts and found that the most shared content is long…really long. More than 3,000 words. Professionally written content of length can be very costly, and your customers might not actually read it.
To make the most of an expensive piece of content, you can:
- Break points into shorter blog posts and discuss one concept at a time in more depth.
- Make a slide presentation with bullet points from a report.
- Create an infographic.
- Schedule dozens of tweets and social media posts with snippets of information.
- Discuss the information in a video.
- Create a how-to teaching viewers to apply the information you’ve presented.
- Schedule a livestream webinar with Q&A to discuss your findings.
- Create eye-catching graphics to tweet and post
The beauty of curated content is simple: you don’t have to produce it or pay for it. Curation allows you to provide a lot of content, even if you don’t have a lot of resources. You can add value with commentary and your own insight in just a few sentences. The content you pull into your site should be relevant to your industry, interesting, and new.
Ask for Guest Posts
Most blogs have a “write for us” page with guidelines about what they are willing to post. As your blog grows in popularity, writers will likely contact you to offer guest posts. Accept only quality posts, and make sure any links are to authoritative, high-quality sites.
You can also invite execs from partner industries to share their expertise.
Invite Your Readers to Participate
User-generated content (if appropriate) can be a fun and interesting way to get your customers involved:
- Threadless.com asks users to submit designs, which users then vote on. The most popular designs, based on pre-order sales, are printed and delivered.
- Hatteras Realty invites users to post their favorite vacation photos.
- TripAdvisor’s core value is built on user reviews.
- GoPro invites users to upload videos shot on GoPro cameras.
Long before your content budget spins out of control, you can create a strategy to contribute, curate, and invite. Done well, you can provide a wide variety of content to interest and entertain your customers, even on a limited budget.